« ПредишнаНапред »
upon unsafe and craggy precipices, to hazard the splendor of her former life. .
But my great business is with you, my Lords, who, either out of envy, are afraid that your betters should be preferred before you, or else, out of a wicked ambition, are laying artfully the foundation of your future fae vour with a good Princess. I will therefore, most noble Queen, under the shelter of your prudence, speak freely my thoughts in this cafe. Such persons do not court you, but your fortune ; and whilst they think upon the Queen, they forget that the same person is a wonlan. When I name the word woman, (I do not use it reproachfully, but), I mean a per.
son to whom nature hath given many blanE' dishments, and eminent enduements; but
withal, hath mingled them (as the usually doth, : in the most usual and precious things) with
some alloy of infirmity; and therefore would have her to be under the guardianship of another, as not sufficiently able to protect her. felf: So that she is so far from having an empire over others alloted to her, that the laws, in imitation of nature, do command women to be under the perpetual tutelage of their parents, brothers, or husbands. Neither doth this tend to their reproach, but is a relief to their frailty : for that it keeps them off from those affairs for which they are unfit; it is a kind regard had to their modesty ; not a scandal detracting from their honour. I will not take notice how difficultly they are restrained by the vigilance of their husbands, and the .authority of parents ; neither will I mention how far the licentiousness of some wo
men hath proceeded, when the reins have been laid on their necks. I shall confine my speech only to what the present case offers, or rather doth enact and require; and which, without damage to the publick, cannot be conceal. ed. If there be any thing of private concern a miss in the sex, let their husbands and kindred look to that; I shall only briefly touch what may be publickly prejudicial. Greatness of mind was never required in this sex. It is true, women have their other proper virtues; but as for this, it was always reckoned amongst virile, not fema'e enduements. Be fides, the more they are obnoxious to commo• tions, passions, and other efforts of mind, by reason of the imbecillity of their nature ; the more doth their extravagancy, having once broke thro' the restraints of the law, fiy out, and is hardly ever reduced, and brought back again within its due bounds, in regard wo. men are alike impatient, both of diseases, and of their remedies. But if any of them seem more valiant and couragious, they are so much the more dangerous, as being liable to more impetuous and vehement passions. For they, who being weary of their sex, have put off the woman, are very willing to extend their liberty, even beyond the precincts of a masculine genius. If you once exceed and pass over the bounds and limits set by nature, whatsoever is beyond is infinite ; and there is no boundary left, either for desire or action. Moreover, there is a further ac. cession to this infirmity of nature ; for the less confidence one hath in himself, the more easily he interprets the words and actions of
pafsculine femiven before willinex, have
others to his own reproach, he is more vehe, mently angry, and hardly appeased. Such a party doth also execute revenge more imnioderately, and doth punish his despisers with greater hate. Now, that all these things are urfit for, nay contrary to magistracy, there is none of you ignorant. And if any man think that I devise these things of my own head, let him consider what great disturbances there were not long ago, when Joan of Naples reigned. Look over the histories of antient times. I will not mention Semiramis of Allyria, nor Laodice of Cappadocia ; these were monsters, not women. The celebrated Zenobia Palmyrena, the subduer of the Parthians, and a match for the Roman Emperors, was at last overcome, taken, and triumphed over : And so she herself, and her kingdom, which was enlarged and increased by her husband Odenatus, was lost in a moment.
Neither may I pass over in silence, what is principally to be regarded in the management of other mens affairs ; that the chief command is not to be entrusted to such sort of persons who cannot be called to account for their mal-administration. I do not at all distrust the ingenuity, faithfulness, nor care of the . Queen ; but if any thing be acted amiss (as it often happens) by the fraud of others, and matters be carried otherways than the publick good, or the dignity of her place doth require, what mulet can we exact from the King's mother? What punishment can we require ? Who shall censure her miscarriages ? Shall the highest matters be managed in the meetings of women, in the nursery, or the
dressing-room? Must you there, either each man in particular subscribe to decrees, or all in general make them ? How will you be able to tear female power, armed with your own authority, which now, when it is with· out arms, and subjected to you by laws and
customs, you can hardly contain within rea. fonable bounds? Do not think I speak this, as if I did fear any such thing from our Queen, who is the choicest and modestest of all women ; but because I think it base and unfeemly for us, who have all things yet in our own hands, to place the hope of our safety, which we may owe to ourselves, only in another's power; especially since both divine and human laws, the custom of our ancestors, nay, and the consent of all nations throughout the whole world, make for us. It is true, some nations have endured women to be their sovereigns ; but they were not elected to that dignity by suffrages, but were cast upon them by their birth; but never any people, who had free. dom of vote, when there was plenty of able men to chuse, did ever prefer women before them. And therefore, most eminent patriots, I advise, and earnestly intreat you, that, according to the laws of our country, and the customs of our ancestors, we chuse one ; or, if you think fit, more; the best, out of the noble!! and best, who may undertake the regency, till the King arrive at that strength both of bo• dy and mind, as to be able to manage the government himself. And I pray God to blels your proceedings in this affair,
I had lon Is fumo He fed
PO E T RY.
[From Mr. GAY's Fables.]
REMOTE from cities liv'd a Swain,
A deep Philosopher (whose rules
Whence is thy learning} Hath thy toil
Hast thou through many cities stray’d; .. Their customs, laws, and manners. weigh'd ?"